BEND, OR -- Oregon's leading candidates for Governor faced off for the first time, in a debate at the Riverhouse in Bend on Saturday. Many of the questions focused on rural parts of the state, especially the economy.
Democratic Governor Kate Brown supports Measure 97. At the debate, she said the corporate sales tax on large companies would give Oregon a solid revenue source. "It's time that corporations pay their fair share." Republican candidate Dr. Bud Pierce says government will always want to be larger, and it needs to stop. "The issue before us is, can government learn to live within its means, or does it always need more money.
On the Malheur Refuge takeover, Pierce says the state needs to control more federal land. "States will function better if more of the land within their borders are controlled and optimized by the citizens of the land." Governor Brown responded that it's not feasible, but there are ways for the state to work with the federal government. She cited a program that allows Oregon to thin federal forests, "It's a win, because it puts Oregonians back to work in our woods and it also creates healthy forests."
The two also sparred over whether the Owyhee Canyonlands should become a national monument. Brown says it should be decided between the federal government and local land owners, "A collaborative process, where local voices have had an opportunity to be heard; and I think that’s the right approach." While, Dr. Pierce says the feds should stay out of it. "Trust the people who live on the land to protect the land and live on the land. We don’t need yet another layer of bureaucracy in the Owyhees."
On the economy and jobs, Brown says new technology in timber and high-tech will add jobs. "Cross-laminated timber and Unmanned aerial vehicles. This is a great opportunity to grow the economy." Pierce says there needs to be a level playing field for all businesses. He cited low-cost power sold to Google and Facebook data centers. "I’m determined to give those same advantages to everyday Oregon businesses. Not just to the 1% that are connected to government."